Lee Yeseung

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Works at: Seoul Art Space_GeumCheon
Stays in: 2014
Genre : Multimedia, Installation

M.F.A., The school of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL, USA
M.F.A., Graduate School, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea
B.F.A., Fine Arts College, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea

Exhibition Records
(Selected Solo Exhibitions)
2013  『CAVE into the cave』, Kunst Doc, Seoul, Korea
2005  『Come out of the GLASS FOREST』,
Curated and sponsored by Gallery DOS special Exhibition, Gallery DOS, Seoul, Korea
2005  『GLASS FOREST』, Excellent Young Artist Award commemoration Exhibition,
Gallery Al, Seoul, Korea
2003  『from City to City』, Hyang-dang Awards commemoration Exhibition,
Baiksong Gallery, Seoul, Korea
2001  『City with Inner Light』, Dukwon Gallery, Seoul, Korea

(Selected Group Exhibitions)
2014  『New hero』, NEMO Gallery, Seoul, Korea
2014  『Collaboration + Coexistence』, Yangpyeong Art Museum, Gyeonggi-do, Korea
2013  『Neverland』, Danwon Art Museum, Gyeonggi-do, Korea
2013  xLoop: Mutation, Grotesque and/or Creative?, Loop, Seoul, Korea
2013  2013 NAJI ART SHOW IV : Mulgicheok (its presence)SeMA NANJI gallery, Seoul, Korea
2013  2013 NAJI ART SHOW III: The roads of forking pathsSeMA NANJI gallery, Seoul, Korea
2013  『Artist’s Portfolio』, SAVINA museum of contemporary art, Seoul, Korea
2013  『Daegu Art Factory @ Suchang-From me to you』, Daegu Art Factory, Daegu, Korea
2013  『Your Invisible shadow』, Kumho Museum, Seoul, Korea
2012  『The 7th Seoul International Media Art Biennale: Spell on the city』,
Outdoor Screening, Seoul Square, Seoul, Korea
2012  The 34th JoongAng Fine Arts Prize, Seoul Art Center, Seoul, Korea
2011  『Rhyme Time: 2011 Chang-Dong Studio Open Studio』, Chang-Dong Studio, Seoul, Korea
2011  『Seoul Digital Media Content International Festival』, LG U+ Media Façade, Seoul, Korea
2011  『New Dialogue』, Fine Arts Center Gallery, Northereastern Illinois University, Chicago, USA      
2011  『TEAF’ 11 – 2011 Taewha-river Eco Art Festival』, Ulsan, Korea
2011  『INTRO』, Chang-Dong Gallery , Seoul, Korea
2010  『North Park Art Walk』, North Ave, Chicago, USA
2010  『Endurance』, Skokie Public library, Skokie, Illinois, USA
2010  『Sprouting』, Noyes Cultural Arts Center, Evanston, Illinois, USA          
2010  『Wrap + weft』, Glenview Park center, Chicago, USA
2009  『Starting Again』, The Hall Long Gallery, Greenleaf Art Center, Chicago, USA
2009  『Beyond a Boundary Between Space and Place』, Sullivan Gallery, Chicago, USA
2009  『New Works』, Sullivan Gallery, Chicago, USA
2008  『Korean American Day Cultural Celebration』, Daley Civic Center, Chicago, USA
2008  『Home』, Betty Rymer Gallery, Chicago, USA

Residencies, Workshops
2014-2015    The long-term residence Artist, Seoul Art Space_Geumcheon, Seoul, Korea
2012-2013    The long-term residence Artist, SeMA Nanji Residency, Seoul, Korea
2011 -2011   The long-term residence Artist, The National Art Studio (Changdong), Seoul, Korea

Prizes and Grants
2014    Emerging Artist grants, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea
2013    Art support program grants, Seoul foundation for arts and culture, Seoul, Korea
2013    New Artists 2013, monthly art magazine Public Art, Seoul, Korea
2012    Specially Selected at 34th JoongAng Fine Arts Prize, JoongAng Newspaper Co.,Seoul, Korea
2011    Community Project Grants, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea
2010    CAAP Cultural Grants, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Chicago, USA
2010    Black Rock Arts Foundation, Black Rock Arts Foundation, San Francisco, USA
2002    Hyang-dang Award: Young Artist Award, Baiksong Cultural foundation,
 Recipient of Arts Promotion Fund, Seoul Korea

Community Project Events / Collaborative Project Exhibitions / Public Projects

2013   xLoop: Mutation, Grotesque and/or Creative?, Alt space Loop, Seoul, Korea
2013   『’the first’: Workshop project with man theater』, Salon de H, Seoul, Korea
2012   『Unplug yourself』, Seoul Square, Seoul, Korea (Interactive Live performance)
2011   『 影·話: Chang-dong silhouette, Seoul, Korea
2010    Storyline Transport: Shadow and Light Festival』, Chicago, USA
2010    Reverse Journey, Fairmont nursing care center , Chicago, USA
2002   『…Shadow』, Collaborator: Ji Sun Lee, Kwanhoon Gallery, Seoul, Korea

 CAVE into the cave: A wild rumor (Interactive media installation) Micro-controller, motion sensors, scientific experiment tools, plastic containers, daily objects, table, lights, chairs_ Dimension variable_2013
CAVE into the cave: Episode 02  (Interactive media installation)_Music box, hospital ward folding screen, concave lens, scientific experiment tool, scrap metal, plastic container, miniature objects_ Dimension variable _2012~2013

CAVE into the cave: Episode 02  (Interactive media installation)_Music box, hospital ward folding screen, concave lens, scientific experiment tool, scrap metal, plastic container, miniature objects_ Dimension variable _2012~2013

 CAVE into the cave: Scene #1 (Media installation with animation Running time: 5mins)_Junks, recycling plastic materials, three projector, shadow puppets_ Dimension variable_2011
: 夢遊 Scene #1 (DMC LG U+ Media Façade)_Running time: 5mins animation_2011 (DMC International: Seoul Digital Media Content International Festival)
Unplug yourself (Webcam interactive media installation and live performance)_Spot lights, music box, shadow puppet_2012 (Seoul Square)

Axis Mundi: Fragmentary Thoughts on the Artistic World of Sunsaeng Ye Seung Lee
Lee Jinmyung (Curator, Kansong Art and Culture Foundation)
The title of this article may seem unusual; in Korea artists are usually referred to as jakga, which translates as artist. I used the title sunsaeng which translates as teacher. This word is used to show respect. Secondly, I used the word fragmentary since my abilities fall short to fully understand the artistic world of Lee in its entirety. Lee’s world has such depth and abundance and is an aggregation of sound thoughts. The criteria of a good artist do not exist and even if it were to it is difficult to express in words. It is because art is in the realm of intuition. We human beings live in space but are also bound by time. We only learn of the past through reflective thinking. That is why human knowledge always remains in the past. However human lives continue with an expectation of the future. Thus present lives are formed on the basis of foresight, preparation, and expectation of the future. Time past can be understood precisely but cannot be manipulated or changed any further. The future is unknown but the present may be altered according to our choices. Metaphors for time are usually expressed as a river or a flow, but the most persuasive model is a tree. The root is the past. Since it is fixed it cannot be changed.
The branches are the future. According to the choices made by the stem it grows in different directions. And it grows endlessly. (The roots also grow but are buried and thus invisible to our eyes.) Science technology and humanities are roots (since they are a reflective self-examination of the past), but since the arts is an eternal process of bringing a world that cannot be and is not seen, it is in future tense. That is why it is extremely difficult to evaluate and set a standard. Sages from the old days have said that we need to choose virtue, love justice and discipline ourselves within the infinite possibilities of the future that lies ahead. Some have pursued the true meaning of truth, virtue, and beauty, while others delved into ‘benevolence’ all their lives. It is the same in the world of art. When an artist begins with his or her own problem, ponders about the problems in the world and wanders within the history and structure of the art world (the choice on the possibility of the future), there is a central theme he or she pursues. First there is the artist that delves deeply into the question of ‘who am I.’ Second there is the artist that questions where he or she takes root in, that is, the world. Lastly is the artist that discovers a harmony between the artistic styles of the past and the ones of the future to be. Sunsaeng Ye Seung Lee possesses all three aspects.
The issue that sunsaeng Lee delved into for a long time is the essence of time. The second issue is whether information that is the world, acquired through sight, sound, touch and taste, i.e. reality, is in fact real. It is the question of whether the world we perceive is real or nominal. This has been debated from the ancient Greeks, ancient Hindus, and ancient Chinese to the Buddhist monk Vasubandhu, David Hume, Emmanuel Kant, and even modern day physicists. The question of whether the world is made of a real substance that can be perceived precisely or of objects in the world merely represented according to our tastes, as if scenes projected on a screen, has been contended and still remains inconclusive. When we kick a chair we feel pain. The chair then is a fact existing in reality. However one may argue that the pain is merely a sense created by our cognition. The sharp conflict between the two thoughts still remains.
As such sunsaeng Lee deals with the issues of the world created by our consciousness. There is a word ‘five aggregates’ in Buddhism (skandas in Sanskrit). Everything that we see, hear, and feel in the world is merely a product of our consciousness, that is, an aggregate of our senses. The temporary, imperfect and arbitrary project that the skandhas (form, feeling, perception, impulse, consciousness) monitors is the world we believe to be real. Western philosophers such as Vilem Flusser use the analogy of the car wash to explain this. When we wash a car we spray water at it. Our consciousness is sprayed onto the car like a jet of water. The water reaches the car, bounces off and touches our skin. This is when we feel cold. Likewise our consciousness is made up of the mechanism of projection and a screen. We do not know the reality of an object itself. We simply take it for granted it looks as such. One reality may have different images on the screen (images in our minds) made by different individuals. That is why although there is one moon there are ten thousand moons floating on the river (in Wolincheongang) and there is a saying ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’
Sunsaeng Lee’s ‘A Wild Rumour’ series is a masterpiece that visually recreates such issues of the human consciousness. The well-known Plato’s allegory of the cave is materialized. The viewer thinks that the image projected on the circular screen is the axis of the work. But axis mundi, the axis of the world, is the everyday objects that are reflected on the screen. It is a metaphor on the world we view. Although we think that the world we see, hear, taste and touch is fact, in reality it is just a phenomena created by our senses. The ultimate reality is ourselves that make the world look and feel as such. It is the result of the collaboration of our brain, nerves, energy of internal organs, neurotransmitters, hormone and blood. The self or the soul is also the result of the overall energy that is me. Thus we cannot overlook the core of Schelling’s philosophy when he argued that the ultimate thing-in-itself (Ding an Sich) is me (Ich). The world has no meaning without me (Ich). Through ‘A Wild Rumour’ series that Lee explored with all her soul she distinguishes the relationship between me and the world and shows that the two are not two but in fact one. (The images on the screen will not exist without the everyday objects spread out. And the everyday objects will be boring without the images on the screen). Without the universe no humans would exist. But without humans the universe would be boring.
Her most recent work ‘New Brain’ was also impressive. This work was done in collaboration with other distinguished artists, Zune Lee, Ji Hyun Yoon, and Seung Yun Shin. Charcoal is put on sticks hanging from a rotating disc presumed to be the left and right brains. The sticks are connected to each other. The speed of the discs slightly differs. It is as though the right hand is holding on to the left wrist. Through this mechanism the charcoal draw a circle. It symbolizes our consciousness and movements. The ultimate state completed through this kinetic mechanism is a charcoal drawing of a black circle. The universe starts from order and moves to chaos. It is the same in human and natural history. They move from improbability (order, decreasing entropy) to probability (chaos, increasing entropy). Only the age of kings Yao and Shun in Asia and the ‘golden age’ according to Hesiod are full of improbability and meaning. Afterwards it disperses gradually into chaos, darkness and lightness (abundant). Our lives head into the process of death. The universe also heads from birth to death. ‘New Brain’ also shows the process from being transparent to opaque. This may be an allegory of life and history that axis mundi (human being) shows. The ultimate result is a heat death. We created culture to forget death. Within the boundaries of culture we forget death for a while. In fact death itself is the product of our skandhas.
Aside from what I presented above, sunsaeng Ye Seung Lee has always been thinking of and is preparing for a grand project that connects issues in history, society, anthropology and philosophy of the East and West to relationship between media and human. I have once told her that when she overcomes the long-standing challenges, she will become the next virtuoso of Korea. I am happy with the belief that this would come true. I cannot fully express the world of Lee through this short and limited article. Sunsaeng Ye Seung Lee’s world is to be seen at her exhibition and discourse and theory of her world should be created through discussions among truly lucid and intuitive people.